New WEC co-chair sees energy shifts

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New WEC co-chair sees energy shifts

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Younghoon David Kim

Daesung Group Chairman Younghoon David Kim, who became co-chair of the World Energy Council (WEC) last month, wants the world’s largest energy organization to have a “two-track” system like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which brings together government leaders and energy company CEOs in the same room.

After successfully hosting the World Energy Congress in Daegu, Kim became co-chair of the WEC and will serve until 2016, when he will become chairman and lead the 90-year-old energy organization for three years.

For the next World Energy Congress in Istanbul in 2016, Kim said he wants to open more communication channels for both the public and civilian sectors.

“In some countries, the energy industry is led by the government, but globally it is still the private sector that is leading development,” Kim said at a press meeting yesterday at the Plaza Hotel in Seoul. “Ultimately, the WEC wants to set up a channel where both the public and private sectors can share information through a global energy summit format and come out with a joint declaration every three years that sets the agenda for the global energy industry.”

Kim said the energy market’s power shift is moving from sellers to buyers, with shale gas development from the United States creating a chain reaction. For instance, he said demand for Russian natural gas is decreasing in Europe, and Russia is eager to sell gas to East Asian countries.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin is coming to Korea this week and other LNG exporters are closely watching Putin’s visit,” he said. “North Korea could be a problem for Russia to export its gas to South Korea, but I think Putin will control this nicely.”

For the future of energy, Kim has little doubt that renewable energy like solar and wind power can create another revolution for the industry. He predicted that fossil fuels like coal can exist longer than expected as there are technologies developed to lower carbon emissions and decrease prices.

“Nuclear power was also chosen to lead the third revolution of the energy industry, but it seems that hope is down because of safety issues,” he said. “Although renewable energy is still important, it will take a long time because we will need good energy storage systems, because renewable energy can’t be generated on demand and it is so far too dependent on the government.”


BY JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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